The ACT Prevention of Violence against Women and Children Strategy 2011 - 2017

2nd Implementation Plan [PDF 189KB]

2nd Implementation Plan 2015-2017

The ACT Government strongly believes in the right of all of us to live free from violence in all its forms. In any given year in Australia, as many as half a million women experience physical or sexual violence. This is unacceptable.

LONG TERM GOALS

ACT STRATEGY

  • A reduction in the prevalence of violence against women and children.
  • A non-discriminatory and anti-violence culture.
  • An increase in the proportion of women and children who feel safe.
  • The provision of holistic responses through joined up systems and services.
  • Fair and just responses that hold men who use violence accountable and which work to change their behaviour.
  • An increase in women and children subjected to violence engaging with the criminal justice system.
  • Reduction in rates of homelessness for women and children subjected to violence.

NATIONAL PLAN

  • Developing National Outcome Standards for Perpetrator Programs.
  • Responding to technology safety issues.
  • Improving National Data Frameworks.
  • Focusing on issues for women from culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse backgrounds.
  • Supporting and contributing to research.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES 2011-2017

  • Women and children are safe because an antiviolence culture exists in the ACT
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and Children are supported and safe in their communities
  • Women and children’s needs are met through joined up systems and services
  • Men who use violence are held accountable and supported to change behaviour

The ACT Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children Strategy 2011-17 (the Strategy) articulates the ACT Government’s commitment to end violence against women and children. The ACT Strategy recognises that domestic/family violence and sexual assault affects people’s ability to participate actively in their communities. The work that underpins the Strategy supports the ACT Government’s focus on Social Inclusion and Equality. The Strategy is consistent with renewed efforts across ACT Government to ensure that people receive the services they need at the right time and for the right duration.

The ACT Strategy and its key actions align with the Second Action Plan 2013-16 of the National Plan to Reduce Women and Children 2010-2022, (the National Plan)and the ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council (DVPC) report from the Extraordinary meeting held in April 2015. This meeting brought together experts in the ACT who work with domestic violence and sexual assault to provide advice to government and the community on actions to address domestic and family violence. Under each of the key priorities there are quotes from the DVPC report, the Strategy and/or the National Plan to indicate the priority actions required.

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Key Priority One -Driving whole of community and government action to prevent violence and create an anti-violence culture.

  • Start discussions and change the culture through: education in our schools; through media coverage; discussions in workplaces and with businesses; and through government messages and messages to staff from heads of Directorates- these can all shape attitudes to understanding this issue. (DVPC report p4, National Plan p16)
  • All families experiencing or at risk of experiencing domestic and family violence, including sexual assault need to feel confident they can receive support from front line workers and service providers (both Government and non-Government). This requires that workers and providers:
  • are fully trained to understand the issues and impacts, and can recognise and respond to them appropriately; and
  • can consistently identify domestic violence and family violence, including sexual assault, assess risk and refer people to the services they need. (DVCP report p5)

Key Priority Two- Understanding diverse experiences of violence

  • Women with disabilities, women from new and emerging communities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women...LBTIQ...and male victims....require additional consideration and understanding needs to be given to each of these communities. (DVPC report, p11)
  • Diversity must be central to the planning and delivery of effective programs and frontline service provision in order to ensure that these groups are included in the service system by design (DVPC report p12).
  • The need for everyone to focus strongly on healing the profound and long-lasting damage that family violence is doing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who experience family violence, and the community as a whole (We Don’t Shoot Our Wounded report March 2009 p4)

Key Priority Three- Supporting innovative services and joined up service systems

  • There is a need for a properly integrated service delivery system, with all Directorates working together to deliver connected and well-targeted services and responses to domestic and family violence, including sexual assault (DVPC report p6).
  • Services and systems need to work well together for women and their children to be protected and supported. This means fostering integration (National Plan p27).

Key Priority Four- Improving evidence based perpetrator interventions so that men are held accountable and supported to change behaviour

  • Reducing violence against women and their children cannot be achieved without effectively responding to perpetrators (National Plan p 42).
  • The service system needs to include adequate provision of services and responses for perpetrators of domestic and family violence and sexual assault while holding perpetrators of violence to account for their conduct. Services should aim to put in place systems and programs aimed at behavioural change (DVCP report p9).

(National) Priority Five- Continuing to build the evidence base

  • National, linked up research that can be translated into policy and practice is critical to inform national efforts to effectively reduce violence against women and children (National Plan p44).
  • Government to continue to support local research projects that inform our efforts to reduce violence against women and children, particularly women who may be at greater risk of violence and face multiple barriers to accessing support and justice.

REPORTING FRAMEWORK

All Directorates will report on key actions except where a specific Directorate is identified as responsible. Reporting will include:

  • The provision of training and other initiatives/actions to ensure frontline workers can screen and respond appropriately to domestic, family and sexual violence.
  • Actions and initiatives that ensure men are held accountable for their violence and encouraged to change their behaviour.
  • Efforts to promote and participate in collaborative and integrated responses to domestic, family and sexual violence.
  • Efforts to raise awareness.

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KEY REPORTABLE ACTIONS

Priority One- Driving whole of community and government action to prevent violence and create an anti-violence culture.

  • All Directorates to include the relevant actions in this plan, in their business plans.
  • All Directorates to consider domestic and family violence and sexual assault in development of any major change platforms, significant new policies, strategies or initiatives.
  • All Directorates, guided by CSD, to develop and/or update and implement domestic violence policy and/or manuals to ensure frontline staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities in identifying and responding to domestic violence and sexual assault including screening and/or risk assessment tools. (CSD)
  • All Directorates, guided by CSD, to provide training to frontline staff to ensure they understand policy and are confident in responding to domestic violence and sexual assault. (CSD)
  • Procurement and Capital Works will consider including a principle in Procurement Plans, for any contracts over $25,000: ‘to include consideration of workplace policies concerning domestic violence and family violence and sexual assault as part of the criteria for determining ‘ethical and socially responsible suppliers.’ (CMTEDD).
  • All Directorates to consider including a category in Grants Programs for projects related to awareness/prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault in the ACT.
  • Incorporate Social and Emotional Learning education, to enhance respectful relationships into ACT curriculum (in line with National curriculum work arising from the National Plan) (DET)
  • Office for Women to oversee/develop an online portal to a range of policy, procedures, checklists etc that support Directorates and community agencies to undertake gender analysis and ensure consideration of domestic and family violence and sexual assault in development of policies strategies and initiatives. (CSD)
  • ACT Government will review the Triple Bottom Line Assessment framework to ensure there is clear articulation of the need to consider domestic and family violence. (CSD)
  • All Directorates will consider becoming White Ribbon Accredited. (CMTEDD)

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Priority Two - Understanding diverse experiences of violence

  • Implement the recommendations from the Women with Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services Scheme. (JACSD & CSD)
  • ACT Government initiatives responding to domestic violence and sexual assault will include specific consideration for the following groups: women from culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse backgrounds, young women, older women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community members.
  • Support best practice initiatives that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys to feel strong and respectful in their cultural identity by continuing to consult with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body about how to engage and create such opportunities. (CSD)
  • Engage community leaders to be role models and speak out about issues of violence against women. For example: multi-faith and multicultural leaders, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body. (CSD)
  • All Directorates to report on how they considered the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children against reportable actions in this plan. (CSD)
  • ACT Government to advocate via National working groups and COAG for improved access to interpreters for women from culturally, linguistically, and religiously diverse backgrounds who have experienced violence. (CSD)

Priority Three - Supporting innovative services and joined up service systems

  • ACT Government to improve information sharing between agencies (government and non-government) within integrated responses with appropriate safeguards particularly where a risk assessment indicates it is important for protecting the safety of the victim and their immediate family (DVPC report p.6) (JACSD)
  • Community Services Directorate to oversee a gap analysis of the entire service system related to domestic violence using the lens of the Human Services Blueprint. The analysis will map the system on a continuum and will identify areas for improved integration. The analysis will also address the need for clear information sharing protocol and will explore the potential use of a common risk assessment as a strategy for improving integration and collaboration. (CSD)

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Priority Four - Improving perpetrator interventions so that men are held accountable and supported to change behaviour

  • ACT Government will participate in the development of the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme and support its early implementation in the ACT. (JACSD & CSD)
  • The Justice and Community Safety Directorate will introduce the Domestic Abuse Program to Community Corrections Settings. (JACSD)
  • To pilot a new 24/7 contact service for men at risk of using violence. (JACSD - AFP)
  • Police responses to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims are culturally appropriate. (JACSD - AFP)
  • ACT Government Justice Reinvestment and Justice Reform strategies will include domestic and family violence and sexual assault. (JACSD)
  • The ACT will work with the Commonwealth, States and Territories to develop and implement National Outcome Standards for Perpetrator Intervention Programs. (CSD)
  • Encourage a collaborative approach to intervening on sexualised behaviour and violence for young people, to ensure that the approach is best practice and evidence based.

Priority Five - Continuing to build the evidence base

  • The Domestic Violence Prevention Council will use the additional $100,000 provided to them to develop a domestic violence data framework. (JACSD)
  • Revise the ACT Criminal Justice Statistical Profile to include a domestic and family violence dataset. (JACSD)
  • The ACT will continue to participate in national research via ANROWS and OurWATcH. (CSD)
  • JACSD and CSD will continue to work to align ACT data collection with the National Plan to ensure consistency.

JACSD and CSD will continue to fund relevant research in the ACT about the needs of women and children experiencing domestic and family violence and sexual assault in our local jurisdiction.

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CONSULTATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE 2ND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

Both broad and specific consultations were undertaken between November 2014 and
April 2015 to inform the development of the
2nd Implementation Plan.

Key themes from these consultations focused on:

  • Raising awareness, training and up skilling first to know workers in a range of contexts;
  • The need for systems to provide better integrated responses;
  • Aligning efforts across ACT Government;
  • Working effectively with men;
  • Continuing awareness raising efforts.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • During the first Implementation 2011-14, much has been achieved:
  • Continuation of the Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP) and Sexual Assault Reform (SARP) Wraparound Program.
  • The introduction of the Crisis Services Scheme for Women with Disabilities.
  • Introduction of Crimes legislation amendments.
  • Working with the Man program provided by the Canberra Men’s Centre.
  • Initiating the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee.
  • Delivered Domestic Violence support groups by the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS).
  • Increased use of Women’s Safety Assessments for ACT Government events.
  • ACTPS introduction of a special Domestic Violence Leave Provision in the EBA.
  • Development of reporting guidelines on violence against women for journalists and embedding respectful reporting into the UC curriculum on Journalism and Society.
  • Assisted more than 900 women through the Return to Work Grants.
  • Held annual Partners in Prevention Awards where efforts to reduce violence against women and children are recognised and valued.

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